Should I upgrade my PC or purchase a new one?

narroyo99 used Ask the Experts™
I currently have a four year old shuttle Pc with a Atlhlon 64 processor and 2GB ram, running XP. It works fine except that's it's beginning to slow down and rather than re-installing XP so that it would spped up, I am considering purchasing Windows 7 and a new solid state drive to load windows. the cost would be approx $350, and a new comparable pc probably costs double that. Is it worth upgraing this 4 yr old pc? I can post my specs and configuration. Thank you.
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Fixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014
The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor can be downloaded from this page:

That will tell you something about whether it will work.
it is worth upgrading. just make sure the solid state does at least 250MB in and out.
Specs will be good...or a model number if it is an OEM (Dell, Acer, etc...)

My thoughts:
I say if you have the $350, definately go for it. The differences between Windows XP and Windows 7 are abundant. Updating your knowledge and skills by using current technology is worth the $350 alone. And a SS drive is the future. Your old computer is hardly out dated. But when you are running Windows 7, you want more up to date hardware as sometimes drivers are an issue. You can always use it as a file server or to run Linux... setup a home network. Lots of things you can do with that system.

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If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here's what it takes:
-1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor.
-1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
-16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit).
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.

Depends on what you will use it for. I recommend buying a new one if you have the budget, this way the new machine is ready/compatible with "future" hardware updates. Also consider that, you will be performing a "clean install" instead of an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.

oh, sorry, I read your post partially wrong....

I can go to Best Buy and get a new computer with new, updated hardware, Intel Core i series processors, etc for about that price. For the money, I would buy the new computer and then network them together. Here are some currently available:

Almost any computer running Windows 7 will perform better than your old system when running Windows 7.
I'd buy a new computer because the cost of a windows license, even an OEM copy, is expensive at retail costs.

check out and for some great deals on new computers.  I'm sure you can find something significantly faster that comes with windows 7 for less than a large solid state drive + windows 7.


thanks to all for the advice. i would prefer to stay with a small case, as my shuttle pc has. it's approx L x W x H 13" x 9" x 9".

my pc configuration is as follows (per the Everest Ultimate app): note that everest does not provide all data; some is coded as "trial version".

      Computer Type                                     ACPI Uniprocessor PC
      Operating System                                  Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3
      DirectX                                  (DirectX 9.0c)
      Computer Name                                     NES-SHUTTLE-A1

      CPU Type                                          AMD Athlon 64, 2400 MHz 4000+
      Motherboard Name                                  Shuttle FN25  (1 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16, 2 DDR DIMM, Audio, Gigabit LAN, IEEE-1394)
      Motherboard Chipset                               nVIDIA nForce4 Ultra, AMD Hammer
      System Memory                                     2 Gb RAM
      BIOS Type                                         Award (06/05/06)
      Communication Port                                Communications Port (COM1)
      Communication Port                                Printer Port (LPT1)

      Video Adapter                                     ALL-IN-WONDER X600 Series Secondary  (256 MB)
      Video Adapter                                     ALL-IN-WONDER X600 Series  (256 MB)
      3D Accelerator                                    ATI Radeon X600 (RV370)
      Monitor                                           Dell 1900FP (Analog)  [19" LCD]  (9J367324AG9N)

      Audio Adapter                                     IC Ensemble Envy24 Audio Controller

      IDE Controller                                    NVIDIA CK804 Parallel ATA Controller (v2.7)
      IDE Controller                                    NVIDIA nForce4 Serial ATA Controller
      IDE Controller                                    NVIDIA nForce4 Serial ATA Controller
      Floppy Drive                                      Floppy disk drive
      Disk Drive                                        Disk drive
      Disk Drive                                        Disk drive
      Disk Drive                                        ST3250624AS  (250 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
      Disk Drive                                        WDC WD740GD-50FLA1  (74 GB, 10000 RPM, SATA)
      Optical Drive                                     HP DVD Writer 740b  (DVD+R9:8x, DVD-R9:4x, DVD+RW:16x/8x, DVD-RW:16x/6x, DVD-ROM:16x, CD:40x/32x/40x DVD+RW/DVD-RW)
      SMART Hard Disks Status                           Unknown

      C: (NTFS)                                         70GB (30 GB Free)
      D: (NTFS)                                         232.9 GB (210.9 GB free)
      Keyboard                                          Easy Internet Keyboard
      Mouse                                             HID-compliant Wheel Mouse

      Primary IP Address                                [ TRIAL VERSION ]
      Primary MAC Address                               00-30-1B-B8-32-56
      Network Adapter                                   NVIDIA nForce Networking Controller  (192. [ TRIAL VERSION ])

      Printer                                           Adobe PDF
      Printer                                           HP LaserJet 1200 Series PC
      FireWire Controller                               VIA VT6307 Fire IIM IEEE1394 Host Controller
      USB1 Controller                                   nVIDIA nForce4 (CK8-04) - OHCI USB 1.1 Controller
      USB2 Controller                                   nVIDIA nForce4 (CK8-04) - EHCI USB 2.0 Controller
      USB Device                                        USB Mass Storage Device
      USB Device                                        USB Optical WheelMouse

      DMI BIOS Vendor                                   Phoenix Technologies, LTD
      DMI BIOS Version                                  6.00 PG
      DMI System Manufacturer                           Shuttle Inc
      DMI System Product                                SN25V10
      DMI System Version                                
      DMI System Serial Number                          [ TRIAL VERSION ]
      DMI System UUID                                   [ TRIAL VERSION ]
      DMI Motherboard Manufacturer                      Shuttle Inc
      DMI Motherboard Product                           FN25V10
      DMI Motherboard Version                          
      DMI Motherboard Serial Number                     [ TRIAL VERSION ]
      DMI Chassis Manufacturer                          
      DMI Chassis Version                              
      DMI Chassis Serial Number                         [ TRIAL VERSION ]
      DMI Chassis Asset Tag                             [ TRIAL VERSION ]
      DMI Chassis Type                                  Desktop Case
      DMI Total / Free Memory Sockets                   4 / 2

Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

One of my customers just got two new HP computers that have everything but the wireless keyboard built into the LCD monitor housing.  Can't get much smaller than that with a full size monitor.
Drop the SSD and max out the ram and run Windows 7 X64!!!
I agree with TRTurner, though maybe conflicting with a lot of other experts here.

Just for your knowledge, I am presently working with PCs that are more than 6 years old and am quite happy with them. Of course if you are a content person a Celeron 1Ghz would also suffice but thats not what I'm talking here.

I guess you are in need of a new PC only if you have very high CPU intensive applications (like today's high end games, photo editing software like Coral or Adobe Photoshop or you are running multiple virtual machines or for the aero user interface of vista, etc). If your CPU usage demands are not that high, then you can safely postpone or ignore a full upgrade for the moment, since your current config is decent if not high.

Of course as the saying goes the newer the better but a lot depends on if you just desire something new for the sake of it.

I like to know what appications you use on your PC?  That way we can tell you if its better or not.  Upgrading or buying a new PC purely depends on the applications being used. You said your xp is slowing down would you know why?


i use my pc for regular pc stuff like email, internet, word, excel, but i would like to get into video editing (with a low level app, not final cut pro) and, most importantly, listening to high level audio using my pc as a type of server. i know i would need a better audio card, possibly a lynx brand. the audio files can be on an external NAS.

again, i like the small form of my current shuttle, and the options are:

OPTION A: upgrade to win7 with a new solid state drive for the windows os, data on a second regular drive, audio files and backed up files on an NAS, possibly add 2 more GB of ram. Estimate $350 to $400.

OPTION B: purchase a new shuttle pc. But if I purchase a new pc, what can I do with my existing pc? Can it be used as an NAS?

You can use your old computer as a file server, home theater, print server, domain controller, etc.

It all depends on what applications you are going to run on the PC 'right now' . If it is just some gneral desktop applications your decision on upgradation is OK. But if there is serious work like 3D or CAD or some highend apps, just go for a moderately good PC like AMD X6 processor with 4GB minimum RAM and good graphic or sound card , depends on your requirement and how mch money you can fetch using all the highend stuff.

So it all depends on what you want to do rather than just the price thing. Life is small so dont settle for less if you have more to do.

If you need further help, just let me know what you are going to do from now within a couple of years with the PC.
I find it hard to believe the average user would tax even a low end AMD dual-core, let alone an AMD x6.  

Honestly, for your use, I'd go with an AMD Athlon II X4 630, or something along those lines because you can buy them for $100 or less.  I've got an 11.6" laptop with a Core 2 Duo 1.3Ghz in it and it surfs the web and does hulu and such just fine (even plays civ 5, albeit a bit slow).  It's not going to win many performance rewards, but it's more than adequate for your need.

If you're going to build it, your most expensive piece is probably going to end up being your retail/OEM copy of Windows 7.  Seriously check out some websites that offer up good deals on the entire package and see if something like that might meet your need.  It's not uncommon to see entire PCs with 6GB of RAM for $400.


thanks for all the comments, although i have received many disparate views. i rather keep my shuttle pc because:
a) it's physically a small form type machine,
b) it seems that my cpu and motherboard specs are not bad given the low intensity of my computer needs,
c) i could buy windows 7 from amazon for $100 and a hybrid seagate HD for another $100. maybe more ram for $50. a $250 investment will give me a computer that should run efficiently for another few years.

i rather NOT buy a new pc because:
a) the cheaper pc options, noted above in various posts, are mostly huge tower-type machines, which is what i do not want,
b) i might have to spend much more than $500 for a good small-form pc.

any opinions?
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

I never upgrade a working computer that way.  But that may be why I have 20 computers of various vintages.


what are your general secrets for upgrading working computers, dave? and what you do with a pc like mine? thanks.
> i might have to spend much more than $500 for a good small-form pc.

Check this out.  It's in your price range and might fit your needs.

Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

I get my next computer and transfer my work over to it from the old one.  I never put a computer that's working down for an upgrade that may or may not work.  There are too many things that can go wrong with that process including older programs that won't work on the new operating system.

I also actually have backup drives for all six of my 'work' computers.  Which reminds me that I should probably do that again this weekend.
I just use Windows Home Server to automate all the backups of my computers.  Wakes them all up at night, does the backup, then they go back to sleep.  Never have to touch the thing, it's quite nice.  Would make a good use of his old shuttle box too.  Just get an OEM copy of WHS and call it good.  


even though i received many suggestions, no one directly answered the question.

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